Pink Floyd fared better than many other rock ensembles at having themselves translated to the big screen. Their atmospheric, unconventional music certainly helped; but importantly, they chose talented, established filmmakers to helm these projects, such as Alan Parker for their rock opera Pink Floyd - The Wall and here Adrian Maben, a French documentarian with a keen eye, whose elliptical style and sense of control elevates the film above the many glorified home movies produced by Pink Floyd's contemporaries.
Essentially a Pink Floyd concert without an audience, the bulk of the film shows Pink Floyd (surrounded by an unabashedly displayed crew of shirtless cameramen and roadies) playing music at the center of the crumbling Pompeii amphitheater from mid-day until late into the night. Throught the film Maben intercuts or superimposes images of the Pompeii ruins, the surrounding countryside, eroded mosaics and sculptures, and of course the members of Pink Floyd -- indistinguishable from the disheveled technicians around them -- as they perform songs and instrumental pieces from Meddle and their improvisational double-album Ummagumma. Highlights include a re-working of "One of These Days," focused exclusively on drummer Nick Mason (a session from which no other footage was extant), as the other members of the band play in a starfield of studio lights; and the eastern-tinged "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun," from Capitol's 1968 Saucerful of Secrets album.
Brief, revealing interviews with the band, in England during the recording of their forthcoming album Dark Side of the Moon, were included by Maben as an afterthought, as were a few informal sequences of the band eating breakfast in the studio cafeteria.